[Congressional Record: February 5, 2002 (Extensions)]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
STRONG STUDENT VISA SYSTEM CRITICAL TO NATIONAL SECURITY
HON. DOUG BEREUTER
in the house of representatives
Tuesday, February 5, 2002
Mr. BEREUTER. Mr. Speaker, this Member wishes to commend to his
colleagues the February 4, 2002, editorial from the Omaha World-Herald
entitled ``Loosey Goosey Borders IV.''
This editorial is one in a series of editorials published by the
Omaha World-Herald which illuminate why it is entirely appropriate for
the U.S. to enact strict immigration laws and, subsequently, to
actively enforce those laws. Specifically, this editorial focuses upon
the student visa system.
Indeed, the U.S. should be pleased that its higher education system
attracts many foreign students, and, while it is important to continue
the student visa system to bring vibrancy and diversity to universities
and colleges, those interests must continuously and consistently be
balanced against U.S. security interests. Failure to do so could place
American lives at risk to terrorist attacks--among other threats--
committed by those in the U.S. fraudulently under the guise of
Even with the strictest possible enforcement of visa controls, the
system will always be susceptible to visa fraud. However, that does not
mean that the U.S. should throw up its hands in surrender and throw
open its borders.
[Omaha World-Herald, Feb. 4, 2002]
Loosey goosey borders IV
Slow progress is made in controlling foreign student visas.
Progress on tightening up the United States' free-and-easy
borders has been slow but steady since Sept. 11--not
spectacular, but at least things are moving.
Before the terrorist attack, student visas were issued to
foreign nationals, some of whom came to this country and, in
essence, disappeared into the general population. The
Immigration and Naturalization Service didn't check whether
they actually went to school or whether they left after their
education was done.
Things changed on Sept. 11. Security became a greater
concern. The INS is setting up a computer system to track
student visa holders. The agency has been struggling with a
system for years, but it appears that it will be in place,
INS officials said, by 2003.
The tracking system is not without its critics. A group
dealing with foreign students withdrew its opposition after
the September attack, but many individual schools have
expressed the concern that a tracking system will discourage
Security trumps that concern. So long as a student visa is
the gateway to an easy and unmonitored existence in the
United States for people whose motives might be other than
scholarship, this is a security matter. If keeping tabs on
foreign students discourages a few from coming to the United
States or inconveniences a college's administration, too bad.
Besides the INS system, the Senate is expected to join the
House soon in passing legislation that, among other things,
would forbid the issuance of student visas to anyone from a
country that sponsors terrorism unless the State Department
investigates and approves the individual.
Some local INS offices are on the ball, too. Omaha-based
INS officials, for instance, have been in contact with
colleges and universities within their jurisdiction. But not
all INS offices across the country have been as aggressive.
Better monitoring of guests to discourage those who would
abuse the privilege is not onerous or unreasonable. Rather,
these precautions are sensible and understandable in light of
the credible threat terrorism poses to Americans. The faster
security can be improved, the better for the nation.
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